Gov. Walz will hold COVID-19 press conference Monday afternoon

He'll talk about the state's response to the pandemic.
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Gov. Tim Walz will provide an update on Minnesota's COVID-19 response on Monday afternoon. 

According to a news release, Walz, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann will be speaking.

The press conference will start at 2 p.m. You can watch it live on the governor's YouTube page

When COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths started to surge earlier this fall, Gov. Walz significantly increased how often he addresses Minnesotans – and that trend seems to be continuing this month (he addressed Minnesotans about different aspects of the pandemic on four days last week).

However, last week's appearances had varying themes – such as the impact on homelessness, or long-term care – but the latest announcement doesn't detail what exactly Walz will discuss in the Monday briefing, instead stating he will provide an update on the "state's COVID-19 response."

There's a little less than two weeks left of Walz's latest executive order that bans social gatherings, closes gyms, bans restaurants for serving in-person diners, and limits other activities for four weeks, ending Dec. 18. Last week, Walz was non-committal on whether he'd extend the shutdowns, but he has said the state's guidance for upcoming holidays like Christmas will likely be similar to that of Thanksgiving (only gather with those in your immediate household). 

On Monday, Nov. 30, Walz said that despite a slight dip in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 in recent days, it is "likely we’re not out of the worst part of this yet."

Meanwhile, it's been about a week and a half since Thanksgiving, which health experts warned could cause a surge in the spread of COVID-19, and as a result hospitalizations and deaths. (It's why Minnesota officials and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged people to stay home.)

Any rise in cases associated with Thanksgiving gatherings or any event would come 1-2 weeks after the day of the gathering. However, the full impact of any Thanksgiving gatherings has yet to be seen – Dr. Thomas Russo, the chief of infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo, told WGRZ any increase in hospitalizations from an event would be reflected in data 2-3 weeks later and an increase in bad outcomes would come around 4-6 weeks later.

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On Sunday, Minnesota health officials reported an additional 64 deaths caused by COVID-19. The state has reported 391 deaths through the first six days of December.

Over the weekend, the state saw a positivity rate of 8.27% – the lowest positivity rate Minnesota has seen for some time. This came after 5,581 tests came back positive for COVID-19 out of the 67,435 completed tests. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota's percent positive over the past seven days is 12.02%.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 350,862 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota and 3,984 deaths. 

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